The Northwest Chocolate Festival is one of the biggest chocolate festivals in Northern America. And unlike many of the smaller fair-like chocolate festivals I’ve been to, the NW Chocolate Festival is more focused on the trendy bean-to-bar movement. I was very surprised to meet just as much chocolate professionals as enthusiasts in the crowd!

There were several trends that I’ve noticed during the event. Here are a few:

  1. 100% Chocolate – chocolate has definitely gained popularity among health enthusiast hailed as a super food and an antioxidant. That said, the real health benefit of chocolate is only when consumed with no (or little) fillers such as sugar and cream thus 100%. Personally, though I’m an avid fan of the higher % chocolate flavors for its bitterness, the 100% bars are just not as enjoyable.
  2. Brown Butter – as a pastry chef, using beurre noisette or brown butter has been my favorite secret ingredient. And brown butter in chocolate is very simply – a genius idea! Though I’ve tasted brown butter chocolate milk bars in the past, infusing it on a dark chocolate is pure bliss! It adds a dimension of flavor and nuttiness to the bar!
  3. Dark Milk – if there is a perfect recipe for a chocolate bar that truly everyone can enjoy, it would be a dark-milk bar! Its equal amount of bitter and sweet with that traditional European luxuriously rich taste. One of the the chocolate maker’s blend was that of equal amount of 41% and 72%.

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Best pick – Crio Bru is a coffee alternative as described on their website.  Its made of a cacao bean and roasted, ground and brewed just like coffee. It looks like coffee but it taste like a hot cocoa without milk.

 

From over 100+ exhibitors I’ve sampled, here are my top festival bar favorites! Note: to make it an even comparison, I’ve mostly focused my palette on the dark bars ranging from 67% to 80%.

 

  1. Luisa Abram – 70% Amazon Rainforest
  2. Creo Chocolate – 67% Brown Butter Bar
  3. Raaka Chocolate – 67% Cacao Root Beer
  4. French Broad – 80% Costa Rica
  5. Labooko – 82% Pur Dark Chocolate Bar

Here are my other favorites:

Give these awesome bars a try! Cheers!

 

2 thoughts on “The Northwest Chocolate Festival

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